Dr. Joseph Felder, a Gastroenterologist who specializes in Crohn's disease, talks about Crohn's disease treatments and medications one can take to treat it.
There are several treatment options for Crohn's disease. These include medications like Aminosalicylate (5-ASA), steroids, immunomodulators, biologic agents, and antibiotics. Not every option is equally effective for all patients. Because these treatments are very patient-specific, they should be discussed personally with one's physician.
Normally, when a patient is first diagnosed with Crohn's disease, doctors first try treating this with Aminosalicylate (5-ASA) which is considered the low-end therapy for beginners. The side effects are relatively mild, few, and not dangerous. They are also anti-inflammatory specific for diseases like Crohn's disease. They are still not to be substituted with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen if you know you have Crohn's disease.
If someone has a more significant disease, doctors do not usually feel the 5-ASA is the way to start and sometimes they will begin the treatment with steroids, which although effective, are a short-term therapy. These also have several side effects, which although most are completely reversible rather quickly, one should not be on steroids for a long period of time.
A more intermediate-level therapy are the immune-modulators, which contain many medications that work on the immune system to decrease inflammation in the body. One of the nice things of this treatment, is that if it really works, the requirement, or the number of pills to be taken is very small compared to the lower class products. Unfortunately, because of the potential suppression of our immune system, very often people will need blood tests more often.
Another class of medicine that people use are biologic agents, which work by blocking inflammatory cells. Sometimes a combination of some of these treatments works best for a patient.
There are adjudicative medicines as well such as antibiotics which can be used with other medications.
Surgery is also required to get the patient okay and under control. Sometimes this will be after medication or even before medication when something needs to be done.
Some fears of surgery for Crohn's disease are colonoscopy bags, which are actually not commonly used.
Patients with Crohn's disease do end up having normal lives when they face the disease. It will hopefully not stop anyone from attaining the nice things one might want to attain in their lives. These medications and treatments serve to keep it under control for the patient.